Anti-cariogenic effects of polyphenols from plant stimulant beverages (cocoa, coffee, tea)

Fitoterapia. 2009 Jul;80(5):255-62. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 May 3.


Polyphenols occurring in cocoa, coffee and tea can have a role in the prevention of cariogenic processes, due to their antibacterial action. Cocoa polyphenol pentamers significantly reduce biofilm formation and acid production by Streptococcus mutans and S. sanguinis. In the same way, trigonelline, caffeine and chlorogenic acid occurring in green and roasted coffee interfere with S. mutans adsorption to saliva-coated hydroxyapatite beads. Studies carried out on green, oolong and black tea indicate that tea polyphenols exert an anti-caries effect via an anti-microbial mode-of-action, and galloyl esters of (-)-epicatechin, (-)-epigallocatechin and (-)-gallocatechin show increasing antibacterial activities. The anti-cariogenic effects against alpha-haemolytic streptococci showed by polyphenols from cocoa, coffee, and tea suggest further studies to a possible application of these beverages in the prevention of pathogenesis of dental caries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Beverages
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Cacao* / chemistry
  • Camellia sinensis* / chemistry
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Coffea* / chemistry
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Magnoliopsida / chemistry
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Polyphenols
  • Streptococcus / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols